Against the Spirit of the Olympics?

On the eve of the 2019 ITU WTS Grand Final I came across this write-up, published yesterday(8/29) on the Runners World website, written by Jodie Cunnama.

In it, Jodie argues, quite rightly in my opinion, that the ruling that DQ’d Jess Learmonth and Georgia Taylor-Brown was not only a punishment that didn’t fit the “crime”, but was against the Olympic Spirit.

I don’t know the history of the rule, it wasn’t the one added after the Brownlees WTS incident in Cozumel 2016, but given my infrequent race organization experience, and as a captain at ITU WTS in London 2012, Manchester in 2001, Commonwealth Games 2002 and loads of Ironman events; I can see the case where by contriving a draw in the lower ranks, two athletes could deprive an athlete another athlete of important points or qualification status.

If that’s the purpose of this rule, then the ITU have made fools of themselves by applying it here. They’ve actually created the condition the rule was meant to avoid. In this case by bumping people up to race finish positions they didn’t deserve, and didn’t earn. With it, for some athletes came prize money and Olympic qualification that they wouldn’t otherwise received.

What makes the ruling more ridiculous is that the same ITU shortened the run due to heat and humidity concerns, not wanting the athletes to race too hard; and here they are punishing the athletes for not running hard enough. Add to to this, what Jodie said:

It goes against the spirit of the Olympics

Good luck to “Team DQ” tomorrow in the Grand Final, smash it together!

Jodie Cunamma was a 2004, Team GB Olympian in triathlon.

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